Trump Plaza’s Ending Is On Hold As Atlantic City Gears Up For A Busy Summer

Trump Plaza isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Once the biggest casino in Atlantic City, the 34-year-old Trump Plaza had been scheduled for demolition this spring.

However, Dale Finch, AC’s director of licensing and inspection, told the Press of Atlantic City newspaper this week that no demolition permit had been filed by the owner of the building, Icahn Enterprises, or subsidiary Trump Entertainment Resorts.

As such, the planned demolition of the building is on hold.

Tourism season kicks into gear in AC

Former Mayor Don Guardian said demolition would go ahead this spring. However, with tourism season in play, Finch said it’s too late for that now.

Finch said parts of the Boardwalk would need to close for demolition to go ahead. Therefore, it will not happen during the busy summer tourist season. He said its more likely to happen in late fall.

Finch added that crews have been actively removing asbestos from the shuttered casino. Plus, the ownership group has been seeking quotes on the cost of demolition.

But the city has received no demolition permit applications at this time.

The Press of Atlantic City estimates it will cost somewhere around $13.5 million to demolish the property.

It all started in 1984

Originally called Harrah’s at Trump Plaza when it opened in May 1984, the property was the biggest casino in Atlantic City history. It was a joint partnership between President Donald Trump and Harrah’s, which was Holiday Inn’s gaming division at the time.

The Boardwalk property launched with 614 rooms and a 60,000-square-foot casino.

Trump opened the competing Trump Castle a year later. A property that was first renamed Trump Marina and has now become Golden Nugget. Harrah’s called it a conflict of interest, and Trump ultimately bought out Harrah’s. It’s been just Trump Plaza ever since.

Trump Plaza went through a bankruptcy in 1992 and Trump’s publicly traded company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts came away with ownership.

Trump Plaza closes

In 2011, the renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts said it was actively seeking a buyer for the property or a financing partner to help with a renovation.

However, Trump Plaza shut down in September 2014 after no buyers or financing partners emerged. One of many casinos to close in New Jersey that year, Trump Plaza never opened its doors again.

A costly endeavor to tear down Trump Plaza

Owners have asked the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) for $5.6 million in Investment Alternative Tax contributions it plans to put toward the cost of tearing down Trump Plaza.

However, Senate President Steve Sweeney is against the idea. He told the CRDA Chairman Robert E. Mulcahy in a letter that the billionaire chairman of Icahn Enterprises, Carl Icahn, should foot the bill himself.

City officials say the property’s demolition is key to future development. Because of its Boardwalk location at the base of the Atlantic City Expressway, any new property has the potential to draw in huge crowds.

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Holiday Inn, parking garage to remain

However, representatives from Icahn Enterprises told the Press of Atlantic City last year that even when demolition goes ahead, the former Holiday Inn tower and a 2,658-space parking garage on the property will remain standing.

Another currently closed Atlantic City casino formerly owned by President Trump, Trump Taj Mahal, is scheduled to reopen as Hard Rock Atlantic City on June 28 after a $500 million renovation and re-branding.

About the Author

Martin Derbyshire

In his over 10 years covering the US online poker, legal NJ online gambling, and land-based casino industries, Martin Derbyshire has worn the hats of award-winning journalist and video and film producer. He has logged countless miles reporting on the world of high stakes gambling.